DEVOTION FOR THURSDAY, JANUARY 11TH, 2017
THE HOUSEHOLD OF CHRIST
The last personal contact Paul had with the Ephesian church was his farewell to the Ephesian elders at Miletus in about A.D. 57 while en route to Jerusalem (Acts 20:13–28). He left them with this final word: “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood” (Acts 20:28).
This shows how highly Paul valued the body of Christ. This is the “new humanity” mentioned in verse 15, the union in Christ of Jews and Gentiles, who had until now been fundamentally different and antagonistic groups. In addition to being the body of Christ, this new reality of the church is also referred to as His “household,” that is also to say, His family (v. 19).
This building metaphor puts Jesus in the place of “chief cornerstone” (v. 20). He is the first and primary building block, to which all else must be aligned, an image that fulfills messianic prophecy (see Ps. 118:22; Isa. 28:16; Zech. 10:4). The “apostles and prophets” of the early church served as the “foundation.” Since then, believers down through the ages have added to the “whole building” as it “rises to become a holy temple in the Lord” (v. 21). Paul’s point was that the “temple” was no longer a Jewish building in which God dwelt—and certainly nothing like a pagan temple—but it is rather a people with whom God dwells (see 1 Cor. 3:16).
In Ephesus, Jewish and Gentile believers were in the process of becoming “a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (v. 22). Knowing God—His character, plans, and purposes—they could by grace live out the truths of salvation with the strength of His Spirit.
APPLY THE WORD
Genuine community is a work in progress. In what ways are you and your church working toward becoming “a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit”? Make this your prayer focus today, and invite others in your church or small group to join you in praying for growth in the household of Christ, community and reconciliation as part of bringing glory to God.
Today in the Word is a production of Moody Global Ministries
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